Robert Sawatzky
Feb 3, 2017

So you think you know video?

Five dos and don’ts for brand-video strategies, from video-production company Chimney Group.

L-R: Michal Kalinowski, Timo Josten
L-R: Michal Kalinowski, Timo Josten

By 2020, Cisco says 82 percent of global internet traffic will be video. In APAC, online video revenue is set to grow 22 percent annually, from US$13 billion in 2006 to $35 billion by 2021, according to a Media Partners Asia report.

We’ve heard the statistics. Video is stealing King Content’s crown for itself. Of course, most brands have video strategies in place, often in tandem with agencies or consultants. Yet many continue to make rookie mistakes and hold misconceptions about what digital videos should look like.

Campaign Asia-Pacific caught up with Chimney Group’s CEO Michal Kalinowski and APAC managing director Timo Josten. Their video-production business employs 400 people in 12 countries who make “any kind of content that moves”, from feature films to TV dramas to digital advertising. In APAC, they have shops in Sydney and Singapore. They work with brands including Hyundai, Mazda, Sony and Asics.

Here, derived from our conversation, are five dos and don'ts for branded-video campaigns.

1. Grab viewer attention immediately

Most will be familiar with this rule by now. But surprisingly, many online videos still begin with static logos or slow-moving opening animations. 

“You really need to make sure the video is capturing attention and emotion in the first second of playout,” says Kalinowski.

2. Don’t wait to introduce your brand

Once you have the audience watching, don’t wait until the end of the video to get them to engage with your brand. A lot of the traditional agencies and creatives think of TV-type delivery, where you have a payout at the end, says Kalinowski. 

The problem is that no matter how engaging the content is, a portion of viewers will always drop off before the end, and your opportunity is lost.

Chimey Group work for Audi:

3. Views are not enough

Video views are just a very small part of what brands can achieve. Chimney advises inserting a call-to-action involving brand engagement at multiple occasions throughout the playout.

“You need to capture the moment when somebody’s actually giving you their attention, their time,” says Kalinowski. “You need to capture that to offer them a possible action. It could be a subcription, to view another piece of content, to an online shop, it can be signing up for a newsletter, a lot of things.”

Besides links, YouTube and private video players have tools to allow viewers to skip ahead to an interactive element. “You have many technology tools you can use to prompt the audience to do something,” he says.

Many Asian markets present a particularly strong opportunity for brand transactions, adds Josten, since there is a “high readiness” for ecommerce.

4. Tailor your videos for specific markets and social-media channels

Given higher mobile penetration rates throughout many Asian markets, Josten says the Chimney often finds itself needing to explain to global clients who want to adapt existing campaigns, that when it comes to online video, they’re talking 80 percent mobile here.

“What that means from a storytelling perspective is that epic wide scenery shots are actually not as effective nor as wide on a phone," he says. "We also need to consider internet speeds and lags.”

Delivery then also depends on what channels are used. The vast majority of YouTube users will hold phones sideways, while Facebook videos are viewed upright. YouTube videos are nearly always played with full sound, unlike many Facebook videos.

5. Don’t underestimate your budget: Plan for the long haul

What clients want most, Kalinowski says, is more content for the same fees.

After budgeting to set up a video channel, he says, comes the realisation that in order to keep consumers engaged and to turn up higher on search, brands need consistency to make an impact. They need to fill their channels constantly.  

Whereas video once was a single-line item for clients, says Josten, they now need hundreds of videos to keep going. 

This of course, is music to the ears of production houses like Chimney, which offers long-term video content plans to ensure a consistent pipeline six to 12 months ahead.

The company also argues that long-term planning offers efficiencies. Instead of creating two ad hoc television commercial projects per year, Kalinowski says, they can create 30 or 40 digital-video outputs on the same budget. 

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